Art Master Likely Choice in Friday's River City
by Blood-Horse Staff
Date Posted: 11/1/2006 12:55:29 PM
Last Updated: 11/3/2006 2:55:33 PM

(edited Churchill Downs releases)
Juddmonte Farms' homebred Art Master, the beaten favorite in his U.S. debut in Belmont Park's Kelso Handicap (gr. IIT), can make amends when he faces eight rivals in the $150,000-added River City Handicap (gr. IIIT) Friday at Churchill Downs.

The River City, on the turf at nine furlongs, is one of a pair of stakes races offered by Churchill Downs on its Breeders' Cup Eve racing program, along with the $250,000-added Cherokee Run Breeders' Cup, a five-furlong turf sprint.

Art Master, the 5-year-old son of 1990 Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) winner Royal Academy, is listed as the 5-2 morning line favorite. Art Master finished third to Ashkal Way and NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) contender Free Thinking in Belmont's Kelso on Sept. 30, his first stateside effort.

Now trained by Bobby Frankel, Art Master had raced in France prior to his move to the U.S. over the summer. He notched a pair of group III wins while making just six starts over three racing seasons in France. His solid effort in the Kelso improved his career record to 4-1-1 in seven races and boosted his earnings to $173,918.

Edgar Prado rode Art Master in his American racing bow and will be back in the irons for the River City. The Frankel trainee will carry 116 pounds as he faces a strong field that includes turf veteran Silver Whistle, the improving Ballast, and the horses that finished second and third behind NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile contender Aragorn in the Oak Tree Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IIT) on Oct. 7.

Stronach Stable's Silver Whistle will be looking to snap a five-race losing streak in the River City. Trained by Bill Mott, the 4-year-old son of 1996 Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) winner Alphabet Soup notched his most recent victory in the Pan American Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Park. His losing string includes a runner-up finish to Go Deputy in the Sword Dancer Invitational (gr. IT) at Belmont Park.

Rafael Bejarano is scheduled to ride Silver Whistle, who will carry high weight of 118 pounds.

Another well-regarded member of the River City field is Richard Thompson's Ballast, an allowance winner at the River City distance over the Keeneland turf last time out. That victory was the second in five races since the gelded son of Desert Prince moved from Europe to the U.S. barn of Maryland-based trainer H. Graham Motion.

Other River City contenders include California invaders Lord Admiral and Courtnall, the 2-3 finishers behind Aragorn in the Oak Tree Breeders' Cup Mile. The horses finished a half-length apart at Oak Tree and both are listed at 5-1 in the morning line for Friday's race.

J. Paul Reddam's Courtnall, a 5-year-old son of 1994 Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) winner Cherokee Run trained by Craig Dollase, rallied to finish second in the Oak Tree race and was just a half-length behind Aragorn.

Vincent O'Brien's Lord Admiral rallied to finish third at Oak Tree, a race that marked his U.S. debut after 25 starts in Ireland and Dubai.

The 5-year-old son of El Prado has failed to win in nine starts this year, but has yet to finish worse than third.

Edith Dixon's Smart Enough, a speedy 3-year-old that has won four consecutive sprints on the grass, is the narrow morning line favorite in a field of 12 horses entered in the Cherokee Run, which is the ninth race on the Friday program.

The evenly matched field of turf sprinters includes six horses listed between the odds of 4-1 and 6-1.

$150,000-added River City Handicap (gr. IIIT, Race 11, 4:43 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 1/8 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey, M/L Odds
1. Courtnall (KY), 115, Patrick A. Valenzuela, 5/1
2. Bayeux (KY), 111, John R. Velazquez, 10/1
3. Victory Design (IRE), 111, Julien R. Leparoux, 12/1
4. Ballast (IRE), 115, Garrett K. Gomez, 9/2
5. Lord Admiral (PA), 115, Michael J. Kinane, 5/1
6. Silver Whistle (KY), 118, Rafael Bejarano, 4/1
7. Chief Export (KY), 110, Calvin H. Borel, 15/1
8. Art Master (KY), 116, Edgar S. Prado, 5/2
9. Erroneous I D (KY), 113, Robby Albarado, 12/1

$250,000-added Cherokee Run Breeders' Cup Handicap (Race 9, 3:39 p.m.), 3 & Up, 5 Furlongs (Turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey, M/L Odds
1. Smart Enough (KY), 116, Rafael Bejarano, 4/1
2. Nicole's Dream (FL), 117, E. T. Baird, 5/1
3. Very Vegas (KY), 115, Jesus L. Castanon, 20/1
4. Around the Cape (KY), 124, Julien R. Leparoux, 9/2
5. Unbridled Sidney (KY), 119, Corey J. Lanerie, 6/1
6. Justice for Auston (KY), 118, Mark Guidry, 30/1
7. T. D. Vance (KY), 118, Garrett K. Gomez, 5/1
8. Mocha Queen (KY), 115, Brice Blanc, 20/1
9. .Sgt. Bert (KY) , 120, Shaun Bridgmohan, 15/1
10. Elusive Jazz (KY), 118, John R. Velazquez, 10/1
11. Chosen Chief (KY), 118, Robby Albarado, 30/1
12. Atticus Kristy (KY), 124, Javier Castellano, 6/1


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